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War On Mumbai

That night when terrorists took the city to ransom, I was lying inside the cosy warmth of my bed and watching a movie. There was a brief call from a friend saying gunshots in Mumbai. Roomie and I dismissed it nonchalantly as some stray incidents of firing. So we watched our movie and fell asleep. It was only until the next day early morning when we opened the papers that we realised the enormity of the attacks. Mumbai was burning.

And then, like everyone else, we were glued to the TV, calling, SMSing friends and sharing our thoughts. Then there was the news that Sabina Sehgal Saikia, whom I knew since my Times of India days, was in the Taj hotel and that she had smsed her husband saying the terrorists were in her bathroom. Suddenly, the attacks became even more personal to me. Sabina did not survive. A second tragedy was the news of a young Manipuri front desk manager at the Taj, who had just finished his shift and was waiting for his colleague to take over when he fell to the bullets. There were tragedies all around, so many lives were lost at the Trident, Cafe Leopold and the Taj. But for a moment I was biased in my expression of sorrow.

The Mumbai attacks have been one of the most horrific in recent times. It has affected one and all. Last evening, a friend called me home for dinner just because the attacks had depressed her so much and she wanted to share the pain. So did I. So over some wine and Carlsberg beer in a cold winter evening, we the fortunate ones who watched the horror unfold before our eyes from a distance drowned our sadness in talking and eating. We felt for the foreigners who lost their lives on Indian soil, the Israelis who for years had adopted Mumbai as their home, two-year old Moshe orphaned and whose cries for 'emmy' or mother filled the Mumbai synagogue, the many others who lost their near and dear ones.

We managed to laugh too at the numerous TV channels whose reporters like jokers were anchoring the shows. In fact, there are even laughable forwards doing the rounds on these reporters. One prominent face in the TV news business is Barkha Dutt, who has even started dressing like a politician. One of the mails says Barkha was running around shouting "shattered pieces of glasses, shattered pieces".. I missed this one. "So what was she expecting to find? A rare orchid?" My boss said she was almost going to explode herself. The Hindi channels were no less. They started playing old patriotic Bollywood numbers in memory of the dead amid all the mayhem.

I felt my patriotic sensibilty when "Vande Mataram" rent the air as the NSG commandos, the only capable security forces completed their rescue operation. My boss too said he wanted to join the NSG and another friend in Paris who I was updating regularly, who had left the civil services to study MBA said she too wanted to join the army. The police force in India seemed completely useless. Most of them looked so unfit to even run a mile. That's because by the time they have crossed four years into service they have put on so much weight for reasons well known. So, in other words, most Indians would be at a risk given the "weight" of our police forces. And the poor NSGs, after putting in such a brave fight, they had to wait for the bus to transport them back to their homes. In this country, it is only the cricketers who are treated like Gods.

As for polticians, the less said the better. One went on air to say that a few people with powder and lipsticks and well stiched suits protesting the ineptness of politicians do not necessarily mean they are the voices of the country. And one chief minister snubbed by a martyr's father who vehemently asked politicians not to come and pay condolences, said only a dog would have crossed the house had it not been for the martyr, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. The major and NSG commando was the only son. Think of the father's grief and the chief minister's remark, who as a colleague rightly said was reacting like a spiteful child. What maturity in our politicians!

It's a sad story. And one that will haunt us for a long time to come...

Comments

Anonymous said…
Barkha Dutt, Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai practice bellow journalism :-)

- Kun Kun
Indira said…
yes kun kun... these guys have gone mad.. its like anything for TRPs. the whole world is criticisng them.. surely there must be something wrong there if they have managed to irritate viewers so much...
Anonymous said…
In my opinion these guys are CNN wannabes. you know like Anderson Cooper or Christina Amanpour. They want to show the indian audience that they are reporting from ground zero and that everything they mouth off is worth listening too. I don't know how the indian anchors get paid but I am sure when it's time to renegotiate their contract/salary they are going to use this incident to bargain for more moolah !! Whether they deserve it or not is another story...

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